Decorations adorning the school to celebrate its bicentenary in 2019.
In 2019 St. Mary’s Church of England Primary School marked its bicentennial year and the whole school community came together to celebrate! Throughout 2019 a programme of special events took place to honour the school’s bicentenary and several projects were put together to commemorate this important milestone in the school’s long history.
St. Mary’s School was founded for “the benefit of the labouring classes of Putney”
St. Mary’s originated as a Sunday School run by the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Putney. In 1819 a Deed made it possible for St. Mary’s School to have its own building on agricultural land donated by Earl Spencer. It was created as a ‘National School’ by the ‘National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church in England and Wales’.
200 years later, St. Mary’s Church of England Primary School, still with its strong Christian foundation, has continued to serve the Parish of Putney and, along with our supportive community, were proud to come together to mark this incredible achievement!
Our commemorative welcome sign; this sign was dedicated by The Bishop of Southwark, The Right Reverend Christopher Chessun, during our Service of Thanksgiving and Commemoration at St. Mary’s Church on Friday 1st March 2019. It is attached to the wall by the main entrance door to the school to welcome our visitors.
The St. Mary’s Bicentennial Planning Committee was set up back in 2017 to begin the process of commemorating the school’s bicentenary. Made up of a voluntary small group of dedicated staff members and a supportive group of parents and carers, the planning committee first established the vision and aims for the school’s bicentenary, then worked together on a range of initiatives and projects that would generate funding to help to achieve the vision and aims.
Our bicentennial vision had 3 core elements:
These core elements were to be achieved through our strategic aims:
Drawing upon the skills of the staff, parents and the local community, the following initiatives and projects were established:
Just some of the many celebratory cakes created for our anniversary; these cakes were kindly made by our catering staff.
Throughout 2019 a number of celebratory events took place to mark the school’s 200th anniversary:
To celebrate the school’s 200th anniversary a release of 200 balloons in the school hall took place!
Bicentennial Week saw the children participating in a range of commemorative activities including a British history timeline workshop, a ‘school through the ages’ dress up and activity day, the making of our bicentennial patchwork quilt, skipping workshops and a very special assembly which included a rousing sing along of Happy Birthday and the release of 200 balloons in gold and maroon (our school colours of course)! The children also worked on creating a new school song to mark the bicentenary – Shine St. Mary’s Shine!
All of the children worked together to create the school’s bicentennial patchwork quilt.
The Bicentennial Service of Thanksgiving and Commemoration was a dedicated service held at St. Mary’s Church on the morning of Friday 1st March 2019. It was attended by the whole school community, including guests that were former students and staff, as well as special guests that included the Mayor of Wandsworth, the Director of Education at SDBE, the MP for Putney and honoured guest the Bishop of Southwark.
The Service of Thanksgiving and Commemoration at St. Mary’s Church, led by the Bishop of Southwark.
The service offered a full programme of music, hymns, performances, prayers, readings and memories. Even the church bells in the tower were triumphantly rung in celebration! A copy of the service booklet from this special occasion can be viewed below:
The Bicentennial Ball took place on the evening of Saturday 2nd March 2019 and was a spectacular and extravagant black-tie and gown event for adults in the community with links to the school to celebrate. It was held at St. Mary’s Church, with music, food and wine enjoyed throughout the evening. It was not only a chance to celebrate the school’s 200th anniversary, but also the chance to raise funds for the school’s Bicentennial Fund with an elaborate auction!
A short promotional film – St. Mary’s at 200 – was put together by a parent team on behalf of the school and was shown at our Bicentennial Ball on Saturday 2nd March 2019. You can view this film below:
During the bicentennial year, our supportive association FoSMS (Friends of St. Mary’s School) championed the fundraising campaign – St. Mary’s School Bicentennial Fund – to raise money for the various projects that marked the school’s bicentenary.
Our big fundraising project aimed to raise enough money for the much needed redevelopment of the school’s playground and outdoor space.
We want St. Mary’s to have a playground and outdoor space that is functional, educational and sustainable. The project will see a complete transformation that will improve the school’s environment and enrich the children’s experiences.
Our lasting legacy project of the school’s bicentenary is our playground development. This will be a huge project for our school and since 2019 we have sought donations to help fund the creation of our new playground and outdoor space. The intention is to redevelop the playground in stages and therefore the more money raised, the more we can transform!
Unfortunately, between 2020-2022 the unprecedented impact of the coronavirus pandemic had put this ambitious project on hold.
In 2023 the school was pleased to announce that it would continue with its Playground Project 200 plans and has worked with an architect to create drawings of the proposed playground redevelopment. The plan remains to redevelop the playground in stages and the funding obtained so far will hopefully allow for us to start with Zone 1 (the redevelopment of the top end of the main playground).